Aston Villa’s Dean Smith is fully aware of the challenge he faces in Roy Hodgson’s outfit but couldn’t help praise the man in the opposite corner this weekend.

The Villa boss brings his side to Selhurst Park on the back of two impressive victories, backing up last weekend’s 2-0 league win over Everton with a 6-1 demolition of Crewe Alexander in the EFL Cup with a much-changed side.

Ahead of the tie, Smith spoke of his admiration for the oldest manager in the league’s history.

“I’ve an awful lot of respect for Roy Hodgson, someone the rest of us British coaches aspire to,” he said.

“He’s managed a number of teams, the national team, he’s got a wealth of experience and wins.

“It’ll be a tough game. It’ll be a challenge.”

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Hodsgon, 72, is now in his 43rd year of management, having led 20 clubs and countries in the course of his distinguished career, and asked whether Smith would like to be still in the game when he’s Hodgson’s age, Smith replied.

“I’d like to think so, but you never know the twists and turns in your careers.

“Roy has had an awful lot in his.

“I was sat behind him and Ray Lewington (Palace coach) for the Sheffield United game and the energy and enthusiasm they still have for the game, frustration at times, you have that empathy towards them and I still hope I’m doing that at their age.”

Palace Strengths

Crystal Palace’s achillies heel this season has been their potency in front of goal.

Despite scoring just twice in four competitive matches this season, Smith moved quickly to quash their lack of goals by pointing out their attacking threat as a strength of Hodgson side.

“Wilfried Zaha is a big player for them and a big player in the league,” he continued.

“He’s got pace, strength and skill.

“They’ve got pace and players who can hurt you in Zaha, Ayew and Townsend.

“They’ve also got a player who the Villa fans have missed in Christian Benteke.

“They’ve got a lot of firepower, and they’ve got a lot of strength and quality in their team as well.”

Kick off is at 3pm.